Depleted Mansfield Town may need to bring in a loan player as cover for the busy month ahead as injury, suspension and a lingering virus begins to take its toll.
After starting the season with a small squad, Stags are already without at least four and possibly six or seven players for this weekend’s tough visit of high-flying Plymouth Argyle.
Boss Adam Murray has had the One Call Stadium fumigated and taken all possible measures to head off the possible devastation the virus could cause after it hospitalised teenage centre half Corbin Shires last weekend.
With Chris Clements and Chris Beardsley injured and Nicky Hunt suspended, if other players do not recover fully from the effects of the virus, Stags may not be able to fill the bench on Saturday.
“We are just going through numbers at the minute but we might be a little low on the bench on Saturday. We are down to bare bones at the minute,” said Murray.
“The virus kicked in again and we’ve had a couple off Monday, Tuesday. But the work we are doing this week will enable us to get a good platform in the game.”
Murray expects to sit down with chairman John Radford before the weekend and see how the land lies on possible reinforcements.
“I will hopefully have a conversation in the next 24 hours with the powers that be and see what we can do,” he said.
“Obviously we are going into a month where we have got some tough away fixtures and play Saturday/Tuesday, so suspensions etcetera could hurt us this month. We’ve got to be prepared for everything, so if we can do something we will.”
The club were very worried over Shires’ health, but he now appears to be on the mend.
“He is out of hospital, but he is still bed-ridden,” said Murray. “He is still feeling weak. He is still run-down. So he’s not been in. He will be a couple of weeks to build himself back up. It’s knocked him for six.
“So we are just trying to find out where the source is. It’s a strange one. We’ve had the place cleansed from top to bottom. Everything we can do to nullify it and minimise the risk we’ve done. Players aren’t kissing each other.
“It’s a strange one. But it’s one of those things and we’ve got to deal with it. We’ve had the doctor in to see if there is anything else we can do and we have to get on with it.”
Although other players have suffered from the effects of the virus this week, they seem to have escaped the worst of it.
“They have not been as bad as Corbin. They’ve not had to go to hospital or anything but it’s the same kind of thing and it’s knocked them a bit,” explained Murray.
“They’ve had a few days off so we will see if we can get them back in towards the end of the week and if they are in any state to be involved on Saturday. What we can’t do with such small numbers at the minute is risk them coming back into the squad and risk any of the others getting it.”
On striker Beardsley’s shin injury, he added: “He is struggling. He is improving but he is still going to be a couple of weeks.”